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Panzer Battles 2 - The Official Teaser Thread - Printable Version

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RE: Panzer Battles 2 - The Official Teaser Thread - ComradeP - 11-10-2015

Zitadelle was a very German plan (a double envelopment pincer) fought out in a very un-German way with the exploitation force also being the breakthrough force due to the infantry divisions having been weakened/destroyed in winter 1942-1943 or holed up in strategically irrelevant areas like the army dug-in on the Kerch Peninsula. PB Kursk does a good job of showing the strain inflicted upon the mobile units.

The Soviet defensive plan was also very Soviet: lure the Germans in, then strike their flanks. The problem was that the initial German breakthrough in the south was so successful that the reserves that would need to be used in the counterattack had to be committed early. That's why the Germans in the Orel salient faced a very dangerous Soviet counterattack (operation Kutuzov) shortly after starting their own offensive, whilst the Soviets only started operation Rumyantsev in August as losses had to be replaced first. The Soviets first tried to entice the Germans to move their mobile units elsewhere by attacking near Izyum and across the Mius.

For the SS units involved, the Mius battles were as costly or more costly than their participation in Zitadelle due to the nature of the fighting: on the southern front at Kursk, the Germans had the initiative and could also pull back to their starting positions without much Soviet interference due to the Soviet mobile reserves being burned out. On the Mius, the SS had to stop waves of Soviet attacks in a war of attrition that they were not really meant to be fighting, being mobile units geared towards exploitation.

The German doctrine of immediate counterattacks that ended up being quite costly over time instead of giving up ground when possible is something that we'll be seeing in Normandy as well, and on this scale the effects will be more noticeable than on a strategic scale.

The nice thing about such a smaller scale game, is that you get to understand why a certain battle went in a certain way, and also a much better grasp of the nuances in unit composition and tactics. On the strategic scale, the divisions in the opposing armies are fairly similar in composition and unless you're interested in a certain front and know the history, it can feel like they all play in a similar way.

In Normandy, the characteristics of each nation will be more pronounced than at Kursk due to the nature of the fighting and all of the participants fighting in "their" style.

As the Germans, strategic necessity requires you to place your mobile units at the front after it widens due to a shortage of (reliable) infantry formations. Your forces are still very powerful due to the German transition from large formations to smaller formations with a greater number of support weapons, but your staying power is diminished as you can't absorb the losses you could absorb at the start of the war without a serious drop in effectiveness. With the units that would normally function as the operational reserve on the frontline by mid-late June, preventing Allied breakthroughs becomes a juggling act where the Allies keep throwing more balls at you which you have to keep in the air.

As the British, your manpower situation is problematic as severe losses can't be sustained. British industry is functioning at high capacity however, so material losses can be replaced. That encourages fighting like Montgomery did: tanks leading the way as replacing tanks is easier than replacing infantry. This also means the success of an attack depends on the success of the opening tank attack, unless strong follow-up forces are available. The success of a British offensive will depend on how well the fighting in the first half day or so is going. If the tanks get through, you might win. If they get bogged down, you'll lose hundreds of tanks for little gain. Again, just like the historical situation.

For the Americans, the main limitation is transport capacity in getting men and equipment across the Atlantic. When available, they give lots of everything to everybody. A 3 division infantry corps has as many tanks in supporting tank battalions as a full strength Panzer division. Your army is geared towards broad front offensive, it's not very subtle and the terrain in Normandy prevents quick breakthroughs unless the enemy has no reserves, so the reserves have to be worn down first. What is not well known is that the first stage of Cobra wasn't all that unlike the opening of the ground phase of Market Garden where, as your forces are advancing down just one or two main highways, a German blocking company here and there can cause delays completely disproportionate to their size. When you get going however, you're nearly unstoppable.

For both of the main Allied sides and their supporting forces, actually deploying your men in a situation where you can use them to maximum effect is a challenge by itself and it probably won't be possible until the front widens. This gives each of the operations it's own feel, from the confined fighting to widen the front by another mile in the first few weeks to making the successful breakthrough in July happen.

In terms of variety, smaller scale Normandy games like the upcoming PB Normandy have a lot to offer to the player as shown by the scenario list and due to having something for everybody is probably also a good entry point into wargaming compared to a still fairly technical game like PB Kursk where you have to enjoy and understand breakthrough operations through fortified lines and exploitation tactics to have a good chance of winning.

RE: Panzer Battles 2 - The Official Teaser Thread - Strela - 11-10-2015

(11-10-2015, 01:55 PM)ComradeP Wrote: That became a problem with Kursk and never really improved again afterwards, at least not on the Eastern Front. A division that was sent to France for R&R and remained there or a division that was created in Western Europe  and remained there had the time to properly train its replacements until Overlord. This is why most of the German mobile units we'll be using at the start of Overlord will still be decent to good, but any forces that showed up later like the independent Panzer Brigades without proper training won't be.

The majority of the German forces attacking at Kursk are their veteran/elite mobile forces, so they also took the bulk of the losses. Those losses could no longer be replaced either in terms of available experienced replacements or in terms of available replacements at all. Losses in NCO's and lower officer ranks tended to cut effectiveness the most: without an experienced cadre, it's more difficult to bring recruits up to speed.

The Germans, like the Soviets, also had months to train their new recruits pre-Kursk. After Kursk, the Soviets had the initiative and there would be fewer quiet periods to train replacements. Pre-Kursk, the Germans lost entire units in Tunisia and at Stalingrad, but those were (nearly) entirely destroyed, the mobile units you use at Kursk haven't experienced those kinds of disasters yet.

For them, the worst part of the war was still to come, with attrition and having to  act as fire brigades to stop Soviet breakthroughs taking their toll over time. There would also be no rest for them like there was in the first half of the war.

It did depend on the service branch of the forces: the infantry took the heaviest losses, so the infantry quality would decline more rapidly than that of the tank forces. For the men in the Panzers, the lack of available vehicles would be a bigger problem than lack of replacements. For example: even as late as Operation Konrad in early 1945, the SS units involved had a sizable pool of experienced tankers but no tanks for them to use.

The Soviets were waging a front-wide offensive with a mix of experienced and less experienced forces and air support and land combat doctrines that were still evolving against an opponent that was still quite capable of limited counterattacks, which resulted in heavy losses for their offensives, but a war of attrition could not be won by the Germans.

What ComradeP said....

I discussed this in the users notes on John Tillers site available from here; 


The SS (LAH & DR) had been rebuilt during all of 1942 after being decimated as regiments in Barbarossa. 3rd SS was a new formation. They were committed to battle, earlier than expected at Kharkov in Feb/Mar '43. This was through necessity as the German line had been destroyed in the south with the encirclement at Stalingrad and the retreat from the Caucasus.

The inclusion of the SS and the timely arrival of mobile units from the Caucasus allowed Manstein to perform the 'backhand blow' ultimately stopping the Soviets as they reached the Dnepr. This setup the battle of Kursk and the longest lull (3 months) that occurred on the Eastern Front.

if you want to read more about Kharkov '43 and Manstein's actions, the player's notes from the equivalent Panzer Campaigns game is here;


The SS at Kursk were still elite troops despite the losses at Kharkov. They had time to make up their losses and sufficient leaders to be considered elite. It would be less so later in the war.

As an aside to back up ComradeP, Liebstandarte in Normandy is C morale - a far cry from the A morale at Kursk....


RE: Panzer Battles 2 - The Official Teaser Thread - ComradeP - 11-10-2015

By the way David, if you're allowed to reveal it: is there one Allied interdiction value like in Kursk or is it scenario/time specific and what is the interdiction value, 4%-5% or the like?

Just wondering as night time movement will be more important in Normandy, but from time to time you will have to move during the day and all those small gun units need to move around one by one.

RE: Panzer Battles 2 - The Official Teaser Thread - Xaver - 11-10-2015

Well, to be fair one of the problems in the engine is in units value, base it in a single value is allways problematic, i refer to the human factor, and made balance harder... i allways remember here "Age of Rifles" where you have training, morale, vitality, experience and cohesion, with this you can create units with superb morale but average training and experience, i allways think that for the engine diference at least between training and morale is a must have.

The problem is that units like SS divisions with "bad" training could have better performance than other units using the sprit of corps, morale is usually more important in combat than training specially when in Normandy out of first days allies receive to not good replacements, maybe better in physical status than germans but not better in other areas.

RE: Panzer Battles 2 - The Official Teaser Thread - Strela - 11-10-2015

(11-10-2015, 07:35 PM)ComradeP Wrote: By the way David, if you're allowed to reveal it: is there one Allied interdiction value like in Kursk or is it scenario/time specific and what is the interdiction value, 4%-5% or the like?

Just wondering as night time movement will be more important in Normandy, but from time to time you will have to move during the day and all those small gun units need to move around one by one.

Well this will probably be a contentious post!!!

Here are the Air parameter values for Kursk and Normandy side by side;

[Image: PB%20Graphics%20321.jpg]

What you will notice is that the difference in values are pretty significant.

Here is the rationale for each.

Air availability is less in Normandy (30% vs 50%). This is the chance of an airstrike unit being available after being used. Personally, I think Kursk is too high on reflection and it could be argued that 30% is even an optimistic number. This means that there is a 30% chance an air unit will be available in a subsequent turn. This is modified by visibility if the low visibility alternate rule is in use. This is currently a default in game. That said the availability value is very dependent on the number of air units actually in a scenario. A value of 50% with two air units would average out to one unit available per turn, while a value of 30% with three air units yields the same result. This value needs to be considered with the number of aircraft actually included in game.

Allied air interdiction is 15% (!!!). That means there is approx a 1 in 6 chance of being struck for every hex moved into in travel or rail mode. This does not impact units moving normally. Essentially you can expect to get hit by air interdiction if you try to move too far in travel mode as the German player. There are modifiers;
  • The probability is based on the total number of units in Travel or Rail Mode in the hex being moved into.
  • The probability is modified by any terrain modifier of the hex being moved into.
  • The probability is half during Dawn and Dusk turns.

This value is obviously much higher than the Kursk value and is to reflect the fact that Allies had fighter bombers roving around the air space. One thing I will check is whether Low Visibility impacts this value - I don't believe that is the case other than the aforementioned dawn & dusk impacts.

Interdiction effect is a percentage used against a 'general airstrike'. A random air unit is selected and its attack value is multiplied by this percentage. in Normandy this is 25% vs Kursk's 15%. The difference reflects the heavier weaponry carried by Allied fighter bombers (cannons, rockets etc).

So for clarity, think of air strikes as planned attacks - preset bombing raids etc that take time to organise and coordinate. The lower the visibility, the harder it is to get these strikes onto their target in a timely fashion.

Interdiction is the cab rank of fighter bombers that were either ready to be called in on a tactical basis or were freely roaming looking for columns of vehicles. Move in the open in travel mode and you're running the risk of being hit. Move normally and you're immune to interdiction, but you are much slower moving, particularly in bocage country.

A couple of final points. There are no air interception values. It's assumed that the German fighters will be intercepted long before they could intercept any Allied missions over the battlefield. There is also no German Interdiction value as there was no German aircraft - one thing that could be included is a low percentage (say 1%) to reflect Allied friendly fire. There are a number of documented cases of Allied aircraft shooting up their own ground vehicles. Happy for peoples thoughts on that?


RE: Panzer Battles 2 - The Official Teaser Thread - GerryM - 11-11-2015

Thanks for the informative posts esp. Comrade and David. Great reading. Read some of Nipe's book so knew a bit about the Mius. Thanks

RE: Panzer Battles 2 - The Official Teaser Thread - wiggum - 11-14-2015

No bone this time ?

RE: Panzer Battles 2 - The Official Teaser Thread - Xaver - 11-14-2015

Dont worry, sure is a little problem with pirates that only want a little amount of money, you cant use bones without pay royalties Walk the Plank

Maybe Strela is going to give us a big update because release is so close that he finds himself with no weeks to release bones  Helmet Wink

RE: Panzer Battles 2 - The Official Teaser Thread - Strela - 11-15-2015

Hi All,

The update is a bit later this week as I'm travelling for work (and covering half the globe - seriously!!!)

We're all still grinding away here and with most of the scenarios done, we need to get the most recent ones tested and adjusted. There is a lot to do here as we have had a flurry of scenarios turn up.

I'm also slogging through the last of the graphics - this is painful and time consuming but it has to be done. No one else seems to be volunteering to help here!!!!

This weeks update includes seven scenarios again. Of interest four are for an earlier period than where we're up to. These are new scenarios that have been done in the last week.

The scenarios to be showcased are;

[Image: PB%20Graphics%20322.jpg]

#0606_09: Villiers-le-Sec: Moving Inland covers the counterattack by Oberst-Leutenant Meyer's 915 Infanterie Regiment on the afternoon of D-Day. The Germans met the British head on in what became a confused meeting engagement. This is a tight little 8 turn scenario down by Glenn Saunders;

[Image: PB%20Graphics%20323.jpg]

#0611_02: Advance to Cristot covers the attack by 69th Infantry Brigade (British 50th Infantry Division) to reduce the salient 12th SS Hitlerjugend was holding to try and reach the coast from. This is the sister scenario to #0611_01: Misery at le Mesnil-Patry. Cristot starts at 10 am and covered the initial British attacks while  le Mesnil-Patry covered the Canadian attack at 1 pm. This is another Glenn Saunders scenario and runs for 6 turns. We're still testing this scenario and I'm thinking it might be a couple of turns too short.

[Image: PB%20Graphics%20324.jpg]

#0611_03: Le Hamel - The Salient combines both Cristot and le Mesnil-Patry for a very interesting 14 turn battle. It's much clearer how the Allies assailed the German defenses from both flanks;

[Image: PB%20Graphics%20325.jpg]

Jeff Conner sent through (I believe!!) the last scenario he is doing in his Goodwood series - #0719_01 Goodwood Day 2; 11th Armoured Division. This engagement covers the second days fighting and the final attempt by 11th Armoured Division to breakthrough the German defenses. This is another fast moving 12 turn scenario;

[Image: PB%20Graphics%20326.jpg]

We now move back to the previous chronology. The next three scenarios are based around Operation Luttich and the fighting at Mortain. All three have been created by Glenn Saunders.

The first scenario in the trilogy is #0807_01: Mortain - The Lost Battalion. This is a moderate sized scenario but only runs for 8 turns. Glenn tends to specialise in these small, very quick scenarios (I think I'm on the other end of the spectrum!). Here is the zoomed out screenshot for Hill 314 where 2-120th Infantry Battalion held off elements of 2nd SS Division Das Reich.

[Image: PB%20Graphics%20327.jpg]

And here is the close in detail of the defenses on the hill;

[Image: PB%20Graphics%20328.jpg]

#0808_01: Hill 285 - Clipping the Hedges runs for 6 turns. The Germans wanted to clear Hill 285 as it dominated a key road needed to continue the advance. It was a bloody fight in the bocage;

[Image: PB%20Graphics%20329.jpg]

The last engagement today is #0808_02: Mortain - Counter in the South. This is another 6 turn scenario. A mixed German force takes on the green US 35th Infantry Division which has been rushed into a gap that was forming in the American lines as the 30th Infantry Division was pushed back. How far can the crack German units advance?

[Image: PB%20Graphics%20330.jpg]

That's it for this week - apologies again to those that expected this update a little earlier in the weekend.


RE: Panzer Battles 2 - The Official Teaser Thread - ComradeP - 11-15-2015

We're lucky you can give us these updates David, no need to apologize when they're a bit late.

As much as I like having a lot of scenarios, really short ones (<10 turns) are not my favorite due to how they can often be manipulated by the defender.

Though I've never played the game, advance to Cristot looks like a case where blocking units in difficult terrain can make it impossible to reach and attack Cristot on time. 6 turns is really not much to move ~12-15 hexes through difficult terrain. Volcano Man would call this speculation, but things like movement costs and the time it takes for an infantry attack to work in difficult terrain as I see it won't be too different from PB: Kursk. It's nearly the same engine, so you can predict likely results without playing a scenario based on an understanding of the system.

The difference between Cristot and Le Hamel looks a bit like State Farm compared to the full day July 10th Prokhorovka scenario: you have more units and in this case also a lot more time to reach more or less the same objectives.

I'd say the lost battalion scenario might be winnable, but the last two on the list look like they might cause "concentrate somewhere and make the attacker run out of time" issues. In Hill 285, there's a single objective for the Americans to hold, and they seem to have two reinforced companies facing two not full strength German PzG companies, so as the Americans you can move all units to the center and pour fire into the Germans, whilst as the Germans the outcome mostly depends on getting disruption rolls against what will be a large stack.

The Mortain Counterattack scenario requires the Germans to move at least 11 hexes against a ~two battalion force that again only need to hold a single objective. There is no incentive in those smaller scenarios for the defender to hold the line they start in: if they hold the one objective and don't take serious losses, they win, so the obvious thing to do is to move everything in the path of the Germans. That's the main problem with the small scenarios: there's usually only 1 or 2 objectives that decide the result, and the defender has no incentive to hold a realistic line. If his entire force ends up isolated in a hedgehog around the important objective(s), he wins.

Later on, I'll post an appeal to reduce the interdiction rate, but I need some more time to phrase it and point out what I see might be the problem with the rate of 15% on this scale.